Gracie, Max and Milo lived their best lives on Saturday.
The Black Lab, Pit Bull, and Goldendoodle raced at full speed through a newly opened dog park in downtown San Antonio, pausing to poke their pet parents or greet a newcomer before leaving.
Maverick Dog Park on the corner of Broadway Street and East Jones Avenue opened in the last few days after a year-long demolition and construction project that turned part of the existing 3-acre Maverick Park into an unleashed dog park.
Construction of the $ 500,000 dog park, designed by San Antonio-based landscape architects Bender Wells Clark, began in November 2019 and was built with funds from the park loan and donations from the Friends of Maverick Dog Park civic group.
The project created separate areas for large and small dogs, new sidewalks, toilets, seating, paving stones, a dog shower and drinking fountain, a cobblestone-lined swallow, and pedestrian lighting.
The recently completed park brings the number of urban dog parks in San Antonio to 16 and the third in downtown.
About half a dozen dogs and their owners were in the park around noon on Saturday. Two sides of the park are bordered by high-rise apartments, with the apartments on the North River still under construction. A local resident said the park was full of people and their four-legged companions on the day it opened.
It was Julius Jäger’s second visit to the park with Max, a 2-year-old dog Hunter adopted after seeing him wandering near his workplace without a collar or ID chip. The two live in an apartment six blocks from the new park.
“I took him all the way to the Southside Lions dog park,” said Hunter. But Maverick has better landscaping and lighting and is closer to home. “That’s very close, and even to the point where I could get closer to myself.”
Kyle Brown lives in the Riviera Apartments, just steps from the park, and said he brings Gracie with him every day this week. Since moving from Austin to San Antonio in December, Brown had taken his active Labrador Retriever to a dog park near the quarry.
Nancy Ray, who lives in Kerrville, first visited the park with her dog Mayo, a silver-coated Havanese she had adopted from a breeder in Hungary. Ray drove into the park from her downtown apartment, but as they headed toward the park, Mayo dug her heels into the sidewalk.
“Before we went out to eat, I wanted her to visit this new park,” said Ray. “But she hesitates. She’s a little scared of big dogs. “
Neil and Jennifer Larson walked from their apartment near the Pearl to the park, a location they chose to be the midpoint between their respective medical residences at UT Health San Antonio and Brooke Army Medical Center.
They adopted their apricot-colored Goldendoodle when the pandemic started and relied on Madison Square Park at 400 Lexington to train Milo.
“So we usually got in the car and drove,” said Jennifer, keeping an eye on her dog as it romped through Maverick Park. “Well that’s great because we can just walk here.”